THOMAS — A chemical plant that burned on the outskirts of the city limits is a total loss, officials said Thursday.
Federal investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and inspectors from the state fire marshal's office responded to the burned-out Danlin Industries chemical plant in Thomas.
OSHA has no records of prior inspections of the Danlin plant, but the agency is looking into the fire, said Juan Rodriguez, an OSHA spokesman. The 70,000-square-foot chemical plant employs about 75 people in Thomas, which has a population of about 1,200.
Inspectors for the state fire marshal were still waiting Thursday to obtain a list from Danlin Industries of what chemicals were present before touring the site, said Sam Schafnitt, operations chief for the fire marshal.
“The investigation is just in the preliminary stages,” Schafnitt said. “They are still trying to make sure it's safe to enter — it's still smoldering and there's a lot of toxic vapors from the chemicals.”
Daniel Horowitz, general manager for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which investigates chemical accidents, said the federal body is monitoring the situation, but will probably not launch an investigation, because no one was killed or injured in the fire.
About the company
Founded in 1990 by Danny and Linda Floyd, Danlin makes chemicals that are used in petroleum production, drilling, stimulation and pipeline industries. The Floyds began the company by making soap sticks in their kitchen. The soap sticks were used in oil and gas production. The company has since expanded to have sales representatives in six states, according to the firm's website.
A receptionist who answered the phone at Danlin's headquarters in Thomas on Thursday referred all questions to the state fire marshal.
Danlin is an important employer in the area, as well as a large donor to local schools, said Jennifer Billy, economic development coordinator for the city of Thomas. The company purchased a new scoreboard for the local high school football team in 2007 that features the company logo — a red, flame-like design.
“They just support our community in every way,” Billy said.
The fire in the Danlin Industries plant on the northwest side of the Custer County city forced an evacuation but caused no injuries, authorities said.
The fire started about 10 p.m. Wednesday. Warren Manley, Thomas emergency management director, said the cause is undetermined. The fire was still smoldering Thursday but crews had it under control, he said.
The building takes up about an acre and was a “total loss,” Manley said. He did not have a damage estimate but said it will be “in the millions.”
No one was in the plant at the time of the fire.